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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1999 Nov;87(1):39-45.

Thickness of the lower uterine segment: its influence in the management of patients with previous cesarean sections.

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  • 1Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Poissy Hospital, University Paris V, France.



To determine how ultrasound measurement of the lower uterine segment affects the decision about delivery for patients with previous cesarean sections (CS) and what are the consequences on cesarean section rates and uterine rupture or dehiscence.


Prospective open study.


198 patients: all women with a previous CS who gave birth in our department during 1995 and 1996 to an infant with a gestational age of at least 36 weeks and who underwent ultrasound measurement of their lower uterine segment (95-96 study group), compared with a similar population from 1989 to 1994 whose measurements were not provided to the treating obstetrician.


Among the patients with one previous CS, the vaginal delivery rate did not differ significantly during the two periods (70.3% for the 89-94 study period vs. 67.9% for the 95-96 study period, P=0.53), but the 95-96 study group experienced a significant increase in the rate of elective CS, compensated by a reduction in the rate of emergency CS (6.3% and 23.4%, respectively, for the 89-94 study period vs. 11.9% and 20.1% for the 95-96 study period, P=0.01). There was a very significant increase in the rate of vaginal delivery for the 95-96 study period among patients with two previous CS (26.7% vs. 8.0% for the 89-95 study period, P=0.01). The lower uterine segment was significantly thicker among women with a trial of labor than among those with an elective CS (4.5+/-1.4 mm compared with 3.8 +/- 1.5 mm; P=0.006); and the trial of labor group contained significantly fewer women with a lower uterine segment measurement less than 3.5 mm than did the elective CS group (24.0% compared with 56.6%; P<0.001). Two patients (0.8%) were found to have a defect of the uterine scar, a rate significantly lower than that observed in the early group (3.9%, P=0.03).


Ultrasound measurement of the lower uterine segment can increase the safe use of trial of labor, because it provides an additional element for assessing the risk of uterine rupture.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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